Gwin wins Mont-Sainte-Anne downhill

Rivals still trying to figure out how to beat him

Aaron Gwin (Trek World Racing) won the elite men's downhill World Cup in Mont-Sainte-Anne, Quebec, Canada. He won by 1.3 seconds ahead of Greg Minnaar (Santa Cruz Syndicate) and Danny Hart (Giant).

Although he was considered the favorite for the event by all his rivals and he won here last year, Gwin wasn't taking anything for granted. "We train to win so it's always the hope, but you never know until you cross the finish line. You just have to give it a shot."

"I felt good out there today. It was a hard run. It's one of those tracks. It's long but you just got to leave it out there. It's fun. I always like this track."

Thibaut Ruffin (Commencal / Riding Addiction) set the first fast time that would stick for awhile with a 4:23.829, which was good enough for an eventual 14th place. He contentedly settled into the hot seat and said, "My run went good. I gave everything and no big mistakes. It was fun."

Twenty seven riders later, Sam Blenkinsop (Lapierre International) set a new best time in 4:19.161. It would net him a season's best ninth place finish.

Coming into the top 10 riders, occupants would shuffle in and out of the hot seat. Next up was Andrew Neethling (Giant) in 4:18.987. "I think I improved in a few spots that I wanted to after qualis," he said. "I felt like I was attacking the bottom. Obviously, I was a bit worn out and arms were fading. I don't feel like I lost much time. I managed to push through where I needed to. I'm happy to put in a solid one - that's where I want to be most weekends. I want to peak on the podium at a few. I need a lot of points now. I don't want to be the guy who just gets one good one every year. It's good to be up here."

Sam Hill (Monster Energy/Specialized) immediately bumped Neethling out of the hot seat with a 4:17.631, good enough for an eventual fifth place.

"It's always good to get on the podium," said Hill. "I'd like to try to move up a few spots. The track felt boggy and soft this morning in practice. Then it dried off. I didn't ride practice yesterday and yes, the track was a bit different than qualifiers when it was dry. But you can adapt to it pretty easily.

"I think the track here flies pretty well. Even though some parts aren't as flat out as the open parts, you're just on it the whole time. It's about how fast you can go from top to bottom. There's nowhere you can get out of your rhythm."

Canadian Steve Smith (Devinci Global Racing) came down the mountain with a time that would net him seventh overall in front of a home crowd, but it wasn't enough for the hot seat.

Gee Atherton (GT Factory Racing) was next to set the fastest time in 4:17.082. "It was not a bad run. I'm happy enough. I pushed hard at the top and rode the bottom bit as quick as I could. I was starting to get tired at the bottom. It felt like it flowed pretty well. It's all about keeping the momentum and speed going. I felt fast. I had a bobble here and there, but it's a technical track, and it's hard to put a smooth run together."

Neither Justin Leov (Trek World Racing) nor Brook MacDonald (MS Mondraker) could go faster, so it was up to world champion Danny Hart to up the ante, which he did with a 4:16.162.

"It was hard work, but the crowds were good and I had a good run. It's such close racing now," said Hart. "Two seconds between the five of us is nothing on a track like this. Hats off to Gwin, but we'll catch him." Hart has been very consistent this season with a second at Fort William and a sixth at Val di Sole and a third here today.

"I'm up there, I just need to get two more places," said Hart, who is hungry for his first World Cup win.

Santa Cruz Syndicate's Greg Minnaar was next to top the leaderboard with a 4:15.329. "I was nervous up at the top," said Minnaar. "I've had good results here before and a lot of crashes trying to get good results, so this morning I felt like I had a good practice and I felt good on track."

"I pushed hard. I was quite loose at the top - more loose than I normally ride and coming down to the bottom, I tried to back off and be a bit smoother and I made a couple of mistakes where I was just off line. I was just disappointed. I gave it my all and pushed hard thinking that might be good enough for a win, but it's just not good enough these days. It's hard trying to figure out what it is. Second is pretty good, but we all come here to win. Aaron is killing it at the moment and it takes a lot to beat him."

Minnaar said the bottom half of his run was good after taking a lot of risks up top and blowing a corner. "I knew I had to clean up my act on the bottom half and I managed to do it. I pulled a bit of time back but it wasn't enough to take it."

What was enough to take it was Gwin's ride. "The organizers had opened up the top section. There was a bit of a headwind," said Gwin. "The top section of the track went well. I just had a mistake at the bottom. It kinda of messed me up, but I ended up pulling it together."

He led at each split down the mountain. "This place is fun. From the first practice run on Thursday, I came down with a big smile on my face. The rain made the track pretty much perfect for finals. It's a hard course to race, but a fun course to ride."

Gwin continues as World Cup leader with 900 points. "It's never easy to protect the lead. These longer tracks are tough," he said. "I'm looking forward to a shorter track next week. It's always fun racing in Windham. I have some family and a bunch of friends there."

Minnaar is in second in the World Cup with 765 points while Atherton has 640. Hart is fourth with 525 and Hill rounds out the top five with 461 points.

Race note

Neko Mulally (Trek World Racing) crashed hard on the course and did not finish the race.  He was treated onsite by medical staff and suffered no broken bones but sustained a concussion.  He does not remember the crash, and his team said they will watch him closely for the next 48 hours.

Full Results

Elite men
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Aaron Gwin (USA) Trek World Racing0:04:14.022 
2Greg Minnaar (RSA) Santa Cruz Syndicate0:00:01.307 
3Danny Hart (GBr) Giant Factory Off-Road Team0:00:02.140 
4Gee Atherton (GBr) GT Factory Racing0:00:03.060 
5Samuel Hill (Aus) Monster Energy-Specialized0:00:03.609 
6Brook Macdonald (NZl) MS Mondraker Team0:00:03.885 
7Steve Smith (Can) Devinci Global Racing0:00:04.521 
8Andrew Neethling (RSA) Giant Factory Off-Road Team0:00:04.965 
9Samuel Blenkinsop (NZl) Lapierre International0:00:05.139 
10Justin Leov (NZl) Trek World Racing0:00:05.633 
11Cameron Cole (NZl) Lapierre International0:00:06.015 
12Josh Bryceland (GBr) Santa Cruz Syndicate0:00:07.502 
13Patrick Thome (Fra) Lapierre International0:00:08.536 
14Thibaut Ruffin (Fra) Commencal / Riding Addiction0:00:09.807 
15Michael Hannah (Aus) Hutchinson United Ride0:00:09.924 
16Brendan Fairclough (GBr) Scott110:00:09.925 
17George Brannigan (NZl) Devinci Global Racing0:00:10.113 
18Markus Pekoll (Aut) MS Mondraker Team0:00:10.207 
19Matthew Simmonds (GBr) Chain Reaction Cycles.Com / Nukeproof0:00:10.648 
20Marcelo Gutierrez Villegas (Col) CG Racing Brigade0:00:10.967 
21Marc Beaumont (GBr) GT Factory Racing0:00:11.063 
22Luke Strobel (USA)0:00:11.324 
23Richard Rude Jr° (USA) Yeti Fox Shox Factory Race Team0:00:12.011 
24Aurélien Giordanengo (Fra) Topcycle By Trek0:00:12.148 
25Damien Spagnolo (Fra) MS Mondraker Team0:00:12.205 
26Mitchell Delfs (Aus) Kona0:00:12.232 
27Bernard Kerr (GBr)0:00:12.752 
28Connor Fearon° (Aus) Kona0:00:12.767 
29Bryn Atkinson (Aus) Team Norco International0:00:13.075 
30Lorenzo Suding (Ita) Pila-BlaCK Arrows-Mtb Herin School Asd0:00:13.683 
31Eliot Jackson (USA) Yeti Fox Shox Factory Race Team0:00:13.925 
32Harry Heath (GBr) Unior Tools Team0:00:14.004 
33Joseph Smith (GBr) Chain Reaction Cycles.Com / Nukeproof0:00:14.047 
34Oscar Harnstrom (Swe) Pila-BlaCK Arrows-Mtb Herin School Asd0:00:14.094 
35Dan Stanbridge (GBr) Dirt Norco Race Team0:00:14.103 
36Mickael Pascal (Fra) CK Racing Santacruz0:00:14.143 
37Matthew Beer (Can)0:00:14.190 
38Austin Warren° (USA)0:00:14.706 
39Fabien Pedemanaud (Fra)0:00:14.922 
40Pierre Charles Georges (Fra) Team Lac Blanc / Solid / Batibois Alsace0:00:15.222 
41Nejc Rutar (Slo) Unior Tools Team0:00:15.279 
42Florent Payet (Fra) SC-Intense0:00:15.869 
43Adam Brayton (GBr)0:00:15.961 
44Jack Moir° (Aus)0:00:16.087 
45Mitch Ropelato (USA) Monster Energy-Specialized0:00:16.237 
46Ben Reid (Irl) Dirt Norco Race Team0:00:16.243 
47Jono Jones° (GBr)0:00:17.362 
48Cody Warren (USA)0:00:17.779 
49Ziga Pandur (Slo) Unior Tools Team0:00:18.084 
50Harry Molloy (GBr) Madison Saracen Downhill Team0:00:18.631 
51Lewis Buchanan (GBr) Chain Reaction Cycles.Com / Nukeproof0:00:18.817 
52Greg Williamson (GBr)0:00:19.291 
53Dennis Dertell (Swe) Team 23 Degrees0:00:19.402 
54Kyle Sangers (Can)0:00:19.419 
55Kieran Bennett (NZl)0:00:19.966 
56Guillaume Cauvin° (Fra) Hutchinson United Ride0:00:20.074 
57Cyrille Kurtz (Fra) CK Racing Santacruz0:00:20.244 
58Duncan Riffle (USA) Dirt Norco Race Team0:00:20.292 
59Dean Lucas° (Aus)0:00:20.447 
60Jack Reading (GBr)0:00:20.861 
61Nick Beer (Swi) Devinci Global Racing0:00:21.404 
62Benny Strasser (Ger)0:00:21.447 
63Boris Tetzlaff (Aut) Alpine Commencal Austria0:00:21.647 
64Ludovic May (Swi)0:00:23.557 
65Oliver Burton (GBr)0:00:23.909 
66Rob Fraser (Can)0:00:24.751 
67Kazuki Shimizu (Jpn)0:00:26.132 
68Mark Scott (GBr)0:00:26.820 
69Benjamin Verrier (Fra)0:00:27.310 
70Junya Nagata (Jpn)0:00:28.194 
71Steve Peat (GBr) Santa Cruz Syndicate0:00:28.428 
72Mark Wallace° (Can)0:00:47.660 
73Joshua Button (Aus) SC-Intense0:00:55.192 
74Charly Di Pasquale (Fra) Xcytt Racing0:02:31.116 
75Sam Dale (GBr)0:02:45.108 
76Rémi Thirion (Fra) Labyrinth Shimano Racing Team0:03:23.751 
77Ruaridh Cunningham (GBr)0:05:46.368 
78Hans Lambert (Can) Lehikoinen Matti0:08:26.295 
DNFMatti Lehikoinen (Fin) Chain Reaction Cycles.Com / Nukeproof  
DNFNeko Mulally (USA) Trek World Racing  
DNSJoe Connell° (GBr)  
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1GT Factory Racing80 pts
2MS Mondraker Team69 
3Trek World Racing61 
4Lapierre International60 
5Giant Factory Off-Road Team55 
6Santa Cruz Syndicate54 
7Commencal / Riding Addiction52 
9Devinci Global Racing38 
10Hutchinson United Ride34 
11Monster Energy-Specialized28 
12Team Norco International18 
13Alpine Commencal Austria12 
14Chain Reaction Cycles.Com / Nukeproof12 
15CG Racing Brigade11 
16Passion Velo.Fr10 
17Madison Saracen Downhill Team8 
18Yeti Fox Shox Factory Race Team8 
20Topcycle By Trek7 
22Labyrinth Shimano Racing Team5 
23Unior Tools Team3 
24Pila-BlaCK Arrows-MTBHerin School Asd1 
World cup individual standings after four rounds
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Aaron Gwin (USA)900 pts
2Greg Minnaar (RSA)765 
3Gee Atherton (GBr)640 
4Danny Hart (GBr)525 
5Samuel Hill (Aus)461 
6Steve Smith (Can)410 
7Marc Beaumont (GBr)367 
8Michael Hannah (Aus)354 
9Josh Bryceland (GBr)341 
10Samuel Blenkinsop (NZl)301 
11Justin Leov (NZl)301 
12Andrew Neethling (RSA)300 
13Cameron Cole (NZl)296 
14Brook Macdonald (NZl)286 
15George Brannigan (NZl)258 
16Matthew Simmonds (GBr)257 
17Damien Spagnolo (Fra)249 
18Brendan Fairclough (GBr)245 
19Rémi Thirion (Fra)242 
20Joseph Smith (GBr)233 
21Richard Rude Jr° (USA)230 
22Nick Beer (Swi)227 
23Patrick Thome (Fra)218 
24Aurélien Giordanengo (Fra)214 
25Luke Strobel (USA)212 
26Loic Bruni° (Fra)199 
27Pierre Charles Georges (Fra)194 
28Mickael Pascal (Fra)189 
29Bryn Atkinson (Aus)185 
30Bernard Kerr (GBr)169 
31Julien Camellini (Fra)167 
32Steve Peat (GBr)166 
33Mitchell Delfs (Aus)165 
34Thibaut Ruffin (Fra)158 
35Connor Fearon° (Aus)155 
36Marcelo Gutierrez Villegas (Col)149 
37Jared Graves (Aus)142 
38Sam Dale (GBr)141 
39Johannes Fischbach (Ger)137 
40Greg Williamson (GBr)135 
41Markus Pekoll (Aut)126 
42Robin Wallner (Swe)125 
43Eliot Jackson (USA)119 
44Oscar Harnstrom (Swe)118 
45Florent Payet (Fra)114 
46Richard Thomas (GBr)112 
47Joshua Button (Aus)108 
48Lewis Buchanan (GBr)108 
49Matthew Beer (Can)108 
50Duncan Riffle (USA)108 
51Troy Brosnan (Aus)107 
52Lorenzo Suding (Ita)106 
53Harry Molloy (GBr)105 
54Ziga Pandur (Slo)98 
55Oliver Burton (GBr)96 
56Fabien Cousinie (Fra)95 
57Cédric Gracia (Fra)93 
58Jack Reading (GBr)91 
59Ben Reid (Irl)89 
60Marcus Klausmann (Ger)88 
61Nejc Rutar (Slo)88 
62Alexander Kangas (Swe)78 
63Neko Mulally (USA)75 
64Harry Heath (GBr)75 
65Fraser Mcglone° (GBr)73 
66Mitch Ropelato (USA)73 
67Matti Lehikoinen (Fin)67 
68Kyle Sangers (Can)65 
69Ruaridh Cunningham (GBr)62 
70Dan Stanbridge (GBr)57 
71Thomas Braithwaite (GBr)57 
72Francisco Pardal (Por)56 
73Filip Polc (Svk)55 
74Benny Strasser (Ger)50 
75Marco Milivinti (Ita)48 
76Johann Potgieter (RSA)48 
77Cyrille Kurtz (Fra)47 
78Dan Atherton (GBr)45 
79Boris Tetzlaff (Aut)45 
80Isak Leivsson (Nor)44 
81Austin Warren° (USA)43 
82Mark Scott (GBr)43 
83Fabien Pedemanaud (Fra)42 
84Yoann Barelli (Fra)42 
85Bernat Guardia Pascual (Spa)41 
86Jono Jones° (GBr)40 
87Adam Brayton (GBr)38 
88Curtis Keene (USA)38 
89Nico Vink (Bel)38 
90Jack Moir° (Aus)37 
91Ivan Oulego Moreno (Spa)37 
92Alex Bond (GBr)37 
93Lars Vatnebryn Sandviken (Nor)35 
94Guillaume Cauvin° (Fra)35 
95Mathieu Gallean (Fra)35 
96Cody Warren (USA)33 
97Timothy Bentley (RSA)33 
98Miran Vauh (Slo)33 
99Faustin Figaret (Fra)32 
100Jonty Neethling (RSA)32 
101Niklas Wallner (Swe)31 
102Gianluca Vernassa° (Ita)30 
103Ralph Jones (GBr)30 
104Ludovic May (Swi)30 
105Joe Barnes (GBr)29 
106Dennis Dertell (Swe)28 
107Emanuel Pombo (Por)28 
108Stefan Garlicki (RSA)27 
109Kieran Bennett (NZl)26 
110Charly Di Pasquale (Fra)23 
111Dean Lucas° (Aus)22 
112Lars Peyer (Swi)22 
113Scott Mears (GBr)22 
114Logan Binggeli (USA)18 
115Thomas Jeandin (Swi)18 
116Carlo Caire° (Ita)17 
117Phil Atwill° (GBr)17 
118Fergus Lamb (GBr)16 
119Rob Fraser (Can)15 
120Kazuki Shimizu (Jpn)14 
121Arthur Parret (Fra)14 
122Manuel Gruber (Aut)13 
123Benjamin Verrier (Fra)12 
124Emyr Davies (GBr)12 
125Junya Nagata (Jpn)11 
126Edgar Carballo Gonzalez (Spa)11 
127Tommy Herrmann (Ger)11 
128Matthias Stonig (Aut)10 
129Mark Wallace° (Can)9 
130Gaetan Ruffin (Fra)8 
131Lutz Weber (Swi)8 
132Mathias Haas (Aut)7 
133Tiaan° Odendaal (RSA)7 
134Benjamin Torrano (Fra)7 
135Kevin Aiello (USA)4 
136Dan Sheridan° (Irl)3 
137Hans Lambert (Can)3 
138Kristoffer Haugland (Nor)2 
World Cup team standings after four rounds
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1GT Factory Racing292 pts
2Santa Cruz Syndicate226 
3MS Mondraker Team222 
4Trek World Racing221 
5Lapierre International191 
6Hutchinson United Ride171 
7Devinci Global Racing169 
9Giant Factory Off-Road Team158 
10Commencal / Riding Addiction137 
11Monster Energy-Specialized125 
12Team Norco International82 
13Chain Reaction Cycles.Com / Nukeproof78 
14Labyrinth Shimano Racing Team68 
15Passion Velo.Fr50 
16Alpine Commencal Austria46 
17Yeti Fox Shox Factory Race Team44 
18Madison Saracen Downhill Team43 
20CG Racing Brigade37 
21Team Morzine - Avoriaz / Haute - Savoie27 
22Topcycle By Trek25 
24Team Lac Blanc / Solid / Batibois Alsace12 
25CK Racing Santacruz11 
26Unior Tools Team10 
27Torpado Surfing Shop10 
28Team Are Bikepark By W-Racing9 
29Dirt Norco Race Team4 
30Ghost Factory Racing Team3 
31Pila-BlaCK Arrows-MTBHerin School Asd1 


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